hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

January 14, 2014

Weighty matters

A public-private partnership produces a new weight and training room for Haverhill High

By Bruce Amaro

---- — HAVERHILL— A leaking roof, a charitable public and a willing benefactor recently led to a remodeled and updated weight and training room at Haverhill High School.

The remodel work included new equipment and a new 20-by-60 foot interior second level open deck mezzanine that added an extra 1,200 square feet to the room without any major construction work or alteration to the building’s structure in the area next to the school’s pool.

“The city was able to do this without going to the taxpayers,” Superintendent James Scully said. “We have the public and Ernie DiBurro to thank for this one.”

DiBurro, the owner of Academy Bowling Lanes in Bradford, said that his donation of $115,000 is meant to keep Haverhill sports competitive. The new equipment, he said, is a way of telling student athletes that the city understands their needs.

“Education, especially at that age, is not all about academics. This is the time when the students learn to socialize and the sports contribute to that,” DiBurro said.

Originally a single story, 40-by-80 foot room, the construction of the additional space in the weight room did not involve major structural changes to the building.

“The room has a 30-foot high ceiling, so we didn’t have to do a lot of construction to the building,” said school department Facilities Manager Tom Geary.

“We just added a second level inside the building, a mezzanine type second floor that you can see up into from the ground floor,” Geary said.

J. Kunberger Engineering of Boston designed the internal structure. Built from pre-engineered steel, and assembled on site, Geary said, the mezzanine went up without a problem.

Bradford Welding and Truck Equipment of Haverhill fabricated and installed the steel frame, stairs and rails.

Along with an upgraded interior and new equipment, the work included the installation of new energy efficient lighting, Geary said.

Although the city received enough funds from the insurance reimbursement to renovate the space, DiBurro’s donation made it possible to purchase the new, top-of-the-line strength-training and cardiovascular equipment.

A worn down and crowded weight room, with old weights and equipment greeted DiBurro while on a visit to the facility earlier last year.

“During the break at a basketball game early last year, (Athletic Director) Tom O’Brien and I were talking, and he showed me the weight and training room,” DiBurro said. “It went from there.”

Eventually, the school plans to make the room available to everyone through fitness classes, according to Scully.